There have been numerous studies regarding how the influence of technology has brought about change to the structure of an organization as well as its processes. Many of the studies have concluded that the organizational structure is strongly affected by the principal technology which the organization uses. (Volt, 2005) Technology, In simple terms, Is seen as the conversion of Inputs Into outputs using machines, equipments and processes.
It Is a system based on the use of knowledge and organization, evident in physical objects for the attainment of precise goals.
However, with the coming along of new technologies, as well as postmodernist and symbolic-interpretative, it has further expanded on how we think of technology to include it into the arts and social practice. This essay will look in the modernist and postmodernist perspective which will provide the different views as to how technology, organizations, management and employees are related. The modernist perspective sees ontology as objectivism. What this means Is that they believe In the reality which exists externally outside the Influence of humans.
They see the world as something which Is not subjected to others authority, walling to be covered. They believe that technology brings about value for the organization and that technology will decide the structure of an organization. Epistemology wise, modernist see it as positivism. They have a preference towards ‘hard’ data such as numbers. An assumption made would be that with the application of scientific method, it is possible to find the truth about certain events.
This would then allow knowledge to best tested against the objective world. With the accumulation of knowledge, humans are than able to progress further and eventually evolve. Modernists adopt the General Systems Theory which is influenced by Mile Deuterium’s structural functionalism. They are concerned with what are the factors that bring Individuals and groups together. The concept of division of labor, central to concept of social structure Is the core concept for the modernist. They believe In the quantitative methods of research.
When studying organization as a whole, It must be noted that the level of analysis would be the organization and the subsystems and super system are the departments and environment respectively. The goal is to ultimately help reproduce the larger system by understanding the ‘laws’ which over these systems and how an activity is being performed by the various subsystems. Modernists believe that the fulfillment of a purpose by an organization is closely related with technology to the environment. The increased improvements that technology constantly brings make it a special human venture.
The example of us humans wanting to own the latest possible gadgets can be used for this instance. This brings about the creation of a market Indirectly. The advances in technology are believed to bring about advances to an organization, positively and their level of steady Improvement can be measured by Its technological advancement. Definitions of technology can be broken down Into core, high and service. Core technology simply refers to constant flow of resources that are dealt directly with the production of the intangible services which are consumed as products.
Moving on, the modernist perspectives look into 3 most dominant typologies that emphasizes on how the dimensions of an organizational design is being influenced by technology. The first typology would be Joan Woodward’s Industrial Organization (1965). She basically conducted tests to see if organizational principles were actually put into use. It was also shown that compatibility of companies organizing themselves with technology was commercially successful. She found out that performance were of the highest levels when technologies of mass production were put together with mechanistic forms of organization.
Also, the highest level of performance was achieved when technologies dealing with small batch or continuous processing were combined with organic firms. However, one limitation of her typology was that the technologies involved in the sector of service were ignored. The second typology was James Thompson Organizations in Action (1967). Basically e suggested that the type of technology, which was different depending on the ‘degree of interdependence in the transformation process’, affects the structure of an organization.
He distinguished between long linked, mediating and intensive. Long linked is technologies deal with mass production and continuous processing. It is when an input is being put on one end of a long series of steps which happens in sequence which will end with the output. Mediating is technologies involved in bringing people together for exchange. Examples include those working in banks or insurance companies whose purpose of to bring customers together for exchange.
Intensive technologies involve more than 1 specialized skill, for example, hospital emergency rooms or research labs. To put in simply, it is when there is a unique input and the end result will be a customized output. The third typology is the Charles Proper Organizational Analysis (1970). He studied the reasons why the complexities of technologies are higher than others and how it can lead to uncertainty. These uncertainties are in terms of the quality of inputs and whether they are available, and also variability involved in the transformation process.
A technology with a higher level of complexity will lead to a higher amount f uncertainty. This will also lead to decisions which are less programmed and the use of discretion will be higher. There are 2 factors which will influence the complexity of technology. They are task variability and task inalienability. Task variability is the number of exceptions to standard procedures encountered in the application of given theory and task inalienability is the extent which, an exception is encountered, there are known methods to deal with it’. Hatch and Councils, 2013) These 3 typologies that have been used demonstrated how an organizational structure is affected by the different technologies. The production technologies chosen must be matched with organizational forms and also the success of an organization would be obtained if the structures and procedures are suitable to the productive technology which has been employed. The structure of an organization technology that are used for their transformation. I shall now move on to the postmodernist perspective.
Ontologically, they believe that reality is merely Just an ‘illusion’ which, through language and discourse, is created. ‘The world is said to be made to appear in language, discourse and artwork with no referents because there is nothing to which to refer’. Hatch and Councils, 2013) This is clearly against what the modernist perspective said. Epistemologically, post modernist believes that there can be no truth about reality, since there is no independence to it. The use of language is used to enforce power and social arrangements whilst organizations are merely, ‘imagined’ entities.
Postmodernists believe that technology can be a destructive process which can cause a change or the downfall of established organizational roles and values. They believe that technology is a form of control. An example that can be used for this statement s the British manufacturers working in the textile industry who wanted to introduce more machines but this move was greatly objected by the workers as they are afraid of the impact on their Jobs and skills if it happened. There are 3 aspects with regards to conceptions of technology by the postmodernist.
Firstly would be the technologies of representation. This is basically Just the technologies involved to represent individuals and work processes. Examples would include electronic data and photographs which can all be used to control employees. This brings about fear which the future might bring. This fear is brought about by he expected growth of ‘equivalence’ which can track almost everything, from the keystroke made to the websites accessed. All this will lead to the higher possibility of online accounts being hacked into which will ultimately lead to the capturing of one’s identity and codes.
The second aspect is the technologies of control. This is when the value for highest level of performance achieved by the reduction of energy being expended while increasing output to its maximum capacity and is often brought about by decisions of values linked to a person or institution which are based on their contribution to efficiency. However, a disadvantage is that since integrity and fairness are not clearly in relations to efficiency, it brings about the neglecting of truth and Justice.
Adding on, knowledge will be changed into a commodity by technology as the acceptable knowledge can be spread by the computer. The last aspect would be civilization. This is a hybridism kind of organization which is known to be of a techno-human’ construct. This occurs when an organization is being taken over by computers or electromechanical instruments, be it in whole or Just by part. The organization is being determined not only by canines, but also by the human intervention. There are dangers involved in civilization. One of which would be technology being abused and misused.
Instead of technology serving the organization which is the main point of it, organizational technology, individuals from an organization would tend to expect more from it despite the limitations of how much it can actually deliver. The social and human factors also will be inferior to the capacities technologically. Additionally, according to a French philosopher that influences post-modernism is Michel Faculty, it is power related with regards to all social, political and organization relations. The relations of power do not act according to any reasonable logic or contested system.
There is bound to be resistance whenever there is power involved. Employees will find way to go around the loopholes that are present in the organization. However, resistance can never lead to freedom from restraint since all social relations are in relations to power. There is no way to resist domination. Postmodernist organizations make use of surveillance mechanisms which is to control the members within the organization. This includes closed-circuit television, monitoring of computer usage and mandatory diaries.
These will lead to self- surveillance since members will know that they are being monitored which will lead to dehumidifying conditions. All the points in postmodernist perspective that have been talked about draws attention to not only social, but also the historical and political creation of knowledge, humans and relations socially. This would include how every one of these will appear in the present-day organizations. When domination is supported, humans and organizations will be at the losing end if they overlook the construction activities by regarding the existing world as rational and neutral.
Technology might be selected since it meets the necessary needs of power holders within the organization and not because of its natural superiority. The postmodernist are not all against the technology computer brings. They believe it encourages democracy and also believe it is an essential tool with regards to the economy, environment and political resistance. In conclusion, it can be seen that the modernist insights with regards to the relations between technology, organizations, management and employees are different from what the postmodernist perspective has to offer.
Modernists believe that technology rings about different effects to the structure of an organization and the correct kind of productive technology employed will bring about the highest levels of performance. The post modernist on the other hand, sees technology as a form of power. They believe that the usage of surveillance as a form of control over its members will lead to self-surveillance. This is true to a certain extent but it also leads to a kind of dehumidifying condition since employees are then expected to take extra precaution when doing something in the workplace since their every move is being monitored.